The Indian grape season is in full swing and the season has been pretty decent so far. According to one exporter from India, weather has been favorable, volumes have been steady and once the South African white seedless grapes are completely flushed out from the market, the situation for Indian grapes should stabilize.
According to Samir Singh, business promoter for Indian grape exporter Mersel Foods, the season for Indian grapes has been satisfying so far: “As far as the Indian grape season in concerned, we can say ‘so far, so good’ at the moment. The quality of the harvest has been much better when compared to the quality of last season, and so far, weather conditions have been favorable, bar a few hiccups. The current volume of export is around the same level as it was last year. As of now, a little over 4000 containers have been shipped to Europe, which makes around 60% of the total exported volumes to Europe last season. If we’re lucky enough to have the good weather condition continue for another month, the total volumes will definitely exceed those of last year, going beyond 7000 containers.”
The season isn’t without it’s challenges however, as Singh states growers and exporters have serious concerns. “Challenges that are currently unfolding pose a serious concern to both growers and exporters. Owing to the extended South African grape season, Indian grapes, especially white seedless in 4.5 kg packing, have come under immense pressure and prevailing wholesale prices are as low as 7.00 -8.00 EUR per box. White seedless grapes in 5 kg punnets packing are in a better situation and are currently selling at 9.50 – 11.00 EUR per box in wholesale. I think, it will take a couple of weeks for South African and Peruvian white seedless grapes to be completely flushed out from the market, and then I feel the market will stabilize for Indian grapes as the volume in high sea is not too big for the European demand.”
Issues with logistics have also proven challenging to deal with for Indian exporters, Singh explains. “Another serious challenge the exporters are facing is related to logistics; extremely high sea freight rates, limited availability of containers, and delayed arrival of vessels at the port of destination on a regular basis. This is proving to be a serious handicap for an efficient flow of fruits from the origin to the destinations. Last but not the least, the weather is a bit too hot for the month of March, which could have an effect on the quality of the harvest for the remainder of the season.”
“I think there is going to be a fair demand of Indian grapes in Europe for the rest of the season. Chile hasn’t posed a threat to Indian grapes this year, owing to the unfortunate heavy rains, causing the destruction of over 60% of their harvest. I feel some exporters from India should focus more on quality than quantity; this is the key to success in the long run. Mersel Foods offers quality grapes from its stock in Rotterdam; It also exports grapes to Canada and Russia.” Singh concludes.